Saturday, March 12, 2011

Brody's Scribbles... Gay Liberation Front: Manifesto. Have We Made Progress Since 1971? (Part 9)

By Tim Trent (Dartmouth, England) MAR 12 | If The Law was a big topic yesterday in the discussion of the Gay Liberation Front 1971 Manifesto, then today's skirmish with Physical Violence will take the prize of nastiest area so far. I intend to try to steer clear of Bullycide, but only because it has come under Part 3. Also, despite it being an attack on a person, I am going to ignore the evil and awful sexual abuse scandal perpetrated and concealed globally and on an industrial scale by The Roman Catholic Church. The children assaulted were of no particular sexual orientation. They were children abused in the name of this sect's deity. As such this violence has no more than a passing place in this article.
As usual the manifesto is quoted verbatim:
On 25 September 1969 a man walked onto Wimbledon Common. We know the common to be a popular cruising ground, and believe the man to have been one of our gay brothers. Whether or not this is the case, the man was set upon by a group of youths from a nearby housing estate, and literally battered to death with clubs and boots.
Afterwards, a boy from the same estate said: 'When you're hitting a queer, you don't think you're doing wrong. You think you're doing good. If you want money off a queer, you can get it off him-there's nothing to be scared of from the law, cause you know they won't go to the law'. (Sunday Times, 7/21/1971).
Since that time, another man has been similarly murdered on Hampstead Heath. But murder is only the most extreme form of violence to which we are exposed, not having the effective rights of protection. Most frequently we are 'rolled' for our money, or just beaten up: and this happens to butch looking women in some districts.
This shows a definite and unpleasant attitude towards homosexual people in 1971. It demonstrates ingrained attitudes that homosexuals are second class citizens. It divorces us from our Human Rights.
Worse, it still happens today. I'm not going to make a list of links. These you can discover for yourself by using search engines. Follow a selection of links and do your own research.
I'm going to look in passing at the murder of Ian Baynham in Trafalgar Square in London, a place I always felt was safe. Jenny, his sister said:
“His only crime seems to have been to stand up for who he was, and it is impossible to make sense of the dreadful events that led to his death. The outcome of this trial may help us deal with our loss but nothing will bring him back.”
The PinkNews article I linked to shows that the attack was mindless and homophobic. Compare that with 1971 and the man on Wimbledon Common.
Then there was, in the USA, Matthew Shepard. An ordinary lad, in 1998 Matthew was pistol whipped and left to die on a fence in Laramie, Wyoming. His only crime was to be homosexual and small enough for his attackers to kill with ease. I've read so much about Matthew that I almost think I knew him.
And there was, in 2011, the murder of David Kato in Uganda, encouraged by rhetoric for US fundamentalist christianist crypto fascist groups and the Ugandan MP David Bahati's proposed legislation to legalise the execution of homosexuals.
These are the murders that hit the headlines.
In the USA I have a good friend, Marc. He and I are much the same age. Some 30 or so years ago Marc was walking in Greenwich Village in New York with his life partner, Ricky. It was a pleasant evening and they were walking back to their home from a restaurant. Perhaps they were holding hands, perhaps not. Marc can't remember. What he remembers is a car stopping and men with baseball bats attacking him and Ricky.
Marc remembers sitting on the sidewalk cradling Ricky as he died in his arms before he succumbed to his own injuries and was hospitalised. Alive and devastated by the loss, and in constant pain from his injuries, Marc has grieved for Ricky since then. In 2001 I went to the spot where Ricky was murdered. It was an ordinary, well lit place, near the waterfront. The police were not interested. No-one was ever arrested. Marc says the investigation was closed as 'just another queer bashing'.
These aren't people we've never heard of before. These are real people. And the people bashing them are real people, too. Homosexuals are still dehumanised, so they make excellent victim fodder.
Important people dehumanise us:
The Pope enraged gay groups yesterday by declaring it was as important to save mankind from homosexual behaviour as it was to save tropical rainforests.
Now that is just plain nasty. There's nothing Christian in that.
So, how far have we come since 1971?
Forty years and not a lot of progress. That's how far we've come. And Ratzinger? He's helped in his usual way, as have all the other fundamentalist christianist fascists.


Desmond Rutherford said...

My partner and I have been, punched, stabbed, bashed and ridiculed by others, during our 40 years together.
Worse than any of that has been the constant and consistent religious desecration of our human rights to live our lives without fear of the curses of damnation.

Not once was there a sign from any deity to end the dehumanising, and given the current state of the Christian (and other)organisations, I fully expect them to proclaim that we should take that lack of intervention to be a sign that their God does not approve of us and that we should repent.

I'd rather spend eternity in Hell than join any of their brands of mythical, manipulative guilt ridden hypocritical, sanctimonious, pseudo-heterosexual, hypocrisy.

Of course I am amongst those romantics who are only too happy to make ourselves available to their congregations to assist them in understanding that discovery of love in the real world, rational critical thinking, and compassion, can all help prevent and displace the insanity bestowed by ignorance and superstition, whether you believe in a greater power than us or not.

Trab said...

The sad reality is that religions have their agendas, and they are in large part, if not exclusively, to grow their own strength and fortune at the expense of anyone and everyone, even their own believers.

They accuse 'us' of having a 'gay agenda', but if there even were one, it would be to stay out of the clutches of bigots while loving and living with those we love.